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Mayor Adrian Fenty and Destination, DC
Create Your Own Power Trip campaign
April 2, 2009




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April 2, 2008

Based on City's First Comprehensive Brand Strategy, Campaign Invites Travelers to "Create Your Own Power Trip” in DC

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty joined officials from Destination DC, the official convention and tourism corporation for Washington, DC, to launch a new brand strategy designed to promote the city and bolster its largest private sector industry, travel and tourism. Unveiled today at the Shakespeare Theatre Company's Lansburgh Theatre, the strategy is launching with a $2 million integrated marketing campaign, which includes television, online, print and outdoor advertising and guerilla marketing. The brand builds on the city's powerful, inspiring assets to invite travelers to create their own power trips in DC.

"'Create your own power trip is our new call to action.' It literally and figuratively takes the power of the city and puts it into the hands of the traveler," said Fenty. "DC may be seen as a government town, but tourism is our industry. The city has invested billions of dollars in new museums, restaurants, neighborhood development and a baseball stadium in the past few years. By working strategically to promote our city, we can introduce travelers to the energy that's created here and generate more economic development for DC." Fifteen million visitors spend more than $5.2 billion in the District each year, generating more than $560 billion in tax dollars.

The campaign is grounded in DC's first comprehensive brand strategy, developed over more than a year of quantitative and qualitative research, creative development and consumer testing. The independent research revealed that DC registered a considerable advantage over its competition in several key attributes that motivate travel: power, inspiration, beauty, learning and discovery and experiencing history. The ad concepts, created in collaboration with the DC office of Burson-Marsteller, are designed to evoke these distinctive qualities in order to appeal emotionally to the city's target audiences: family travelers, urban explorers and knowledge seekers.

“It's critical for us to be laser-focused in our marketing efforts. We need to create messages that stand out against our competition and connect with our audience,” said Dan Mesches, chairman of Destination DC and president of Star Restaurant Group. “While DC ranks among the most popular destinations in the United States, the competition for tourism, convention and investment dollars is relentless. Other destinations such as New York, Orlando, Atlanta and Las Vegas are currently outspending DC and have recently increased their efforts significantly to head off potential downturns in travel due to the economy.”

DC's new multi-platform campaign includes two 30-second television commercials designed to appeal to two target segments: families and urban explorers. Starring local talent and produced in-studio using green screen techniques and animation, the commercials describe possible power trips for each market segment. In the urban explorer commercial, a young couple's power trip takes shape under the city's famous cherry blossoms, shopping at Eastern Market and in U Street's nightlife hotspots. For family travelers, a power trip means plugging in to the energy on the National Mall, in interactive attractions, in restaurants and on stage at theatres throughout the city. The commercials will run in the Washington region through a promotional partnership with NBC-4 beginning this month and on cable in other key markets for summer and weekend travel including New York, Pittsburgh and Raleigh in May. Through the promotional support of Western Development Corporation and The Akridge Company, the commercials will also be played on the outdoor screens at DC's Gallery Place retail and entertainment hub at 7th and H Streets, NW.

Print ads illustrating four concepts, “Seat of Power,” “Soul Power,” “Power Play” and “Fire Power,” will run in major publications throughout the summer including Conde Nast Traveler, Gourmet, Black Enterprise, Saveur, The New Yorker, The New York Times, National Geographic Traveler and Smithsonian, another key media partner for the campaign. To build resident engagement, the ads will also appear in local outlets, including The Washington Post, Washington Afro-American, Washington Blade, Washington Hispanic and other community newspapers.

“The creative takes the concept of power and injects it with fun and energy to introduce visitors to powerful experiences throughout the city,” said William A. Hanbury, president & CEO, Destination DC. “We're inviting visitors to plug in to real DC insider experiences to make their trips to DC surprising and authentic by passing along the insider tips that residents actually shared with us during this process.”

To support the new brand strategy and campaign, which includes search engine marketing and partnerships with Travelocity, TripAdvisor, Gothamist and DCist, Destination DC also debuted a new look for its website, Washington.org. Developed by two local firms, DC-based Datanet and McLean, Va.-based Pappas Group, the experience-driven site introduces consumers, meeting planners, travel professionals and members of the media to powerful moments and surprising discoveries they can only find in DC. The site also provides a forum for locals to share their own DC insider tips and insights, plus an itinerary planning feature to make it easier for travelers to organize their visits. Washington.org currently attracts more than 600,000 unique visits per month.

The new brand platform also includes a new 2 ½ minute destination video, underwritten by Guest Services, Inc., a long-time supporter of Destination DC's marketing efforts, featuring music by Eric Hilton and Rob Garza of Thievery Corporation, an internationally-known duo with its roots in DC's nightlife scene.

For more information about the campaign and to view the television, print and online elements, log on to Washington.org/pressroom.

About Destination DC: Destination DC, the lead destination marketing organization for the nation's capital, is a private, non-profit membership organization of more than 1,000 businesses committed to marketing the area as a premier global convention, tourism and special events destination with a special emphasis on the arts, cultural and historic communities. Destinationdc.com.

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